NYC lawmakers approve 5-cent shopping bag fee

Every year, billions of disposable bags are used in New York City. In an effort to curb their use, the City Council has voted 28-20 to approve a bill that would require retailers to charge customers 5 cents per plastic or paper bag.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the measure into law.

Supporters of the bill say most people think that plastic bags are recyclable but they're not. They don't decompose, only break into pieces and account for 100,000 tons of solid waste every year.

Council Member Brad Lander sponsored the bill. He said the city spends millions to dispose of those tons of waste in landfills every year.

But Council Member Eric Ulrich said he is against the bill because he believes it will hurt seniors and low-income New Yorkers the most.

The bag fee excludes restaurants, wine shops, prescription medications and those who use food stamps. If it is signed into law by the mayor, the bag fee will go into effect on October 1.